Paranormal Activity 4

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By Mark Ramsey | 2012/10/22

At this point, the scariest thing about the Paranormal Activity franchise is that we’re still watching it at all.

Maybe that’s why so many of us aren’t.

Unfortunately, and despite the somewhat disappointing performance of Paranormal Activity 4 at the box office, the next chapter has already been slotted into October, 2013.  Personally, I’m planning to be busy that month.

Who’s with me?

What began as a fresh and scarily relatable backyard production has spun into Hollywood’s must-have October opportunity to pick the pockets of moviegoers who want to be frightened by something other than the filmmakers’ frighteningly low quality standards.

No such luck with Paranormal Activity 4.

The series has pretty much taken out every member of every generation of Katie’s family, so now it’s time to move on to the neighbors, as long as those neighbors have at least one suburban teenager in the house with a geeky boyfriend, a befuddled dad, a cranky mom, and an all-consuming video fetish.

The plot is absurd, plummeting towards a conclusion so predictable I could have written it in my sleep, and indeed I would have done so had somebody else not already done it for the last chapter, Paranormal Activity 3.

Again, we have the kids’ invisible friend Toby whose idea of haunting is to sit on the couch in the family room.

What’cha reading, Toby?  Want to watch The Voice, Toby?

As usual in this franchise, it’s night after night of so much nothing before much of anything.  Look, if the witches want the kid just invade the home and take him and save us all 90 minutes of our precious time.

In fact, instead of Paranormal Activity 5, why not just take donations?  I would gladly pay for this movie not to be made, how about you?

It’s a sad statement when the biggest differentiator between these Paranormal Activity movies is the type of video technology used to record the inaction.  “I liked the series back when the idiot males used VHS,” one moviegoer told me.

Next time out, the filmmakers really have to replace the numbered chapters with more meaningful subtitles.  Let’s try these on for size:

- Paranormal Activity: You Didn’t Ask for It, and You Got It
- Paranormal Activity: Because We Said So
- Paranormal Activity: Katie’s Gotta Eat
- Paranormal Activity: And You Have a Better Idea?

Most of this movie is scenes of a 15-year-old girl getting scared. Couldn’t that be just as easily accomplished by telling her Justin Bieber likes her friend more?

And there’s that rumble – the one that signals something scary is coming.  In fact, ditch the “something scary.”  Rumbling is so much cheaper, isn’t it?  Let’s just rumble from now on.

At one point you hear a loud bang!  “What the f**k is that?” says somebody in every one of these movies.  “It’s the sound of Paranormal Activity 5 being green-lit,” says the geeky boyfriend who knows the sound of an umpteenth-quel better than the reason for one.

And remember, kids, when you’re running for your life, always run with a video camera.  Who wouldn’t?

Among its many sins, Paranormal Activity 4 relies on a kid to be creepy when he’s really just a little pudgy. “This is Hollywood, nothing is more terrifying than pudgy,” says Katie, who at this point is to the Paranormal Activity franchise what Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer is to Christmas.

Uh oh, look at that symbol! There’s a circle in a square!

“Is it a sign of demons and witches?” asks our 15-year-old heroine.

“No,” says her boyfriend, “it’s the sign that we’re at a Circle K.  I need some gas – just in case any character in any of these Paranormal Activity movies ever leaves their house.”

Paranormal Activity 4 is a tribute to things that go bump in the night.  Like my head against the wall.

Any activity beats this paranormal one.

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2 Responses to “Paranormal Activity 4”

  1. Cgris Bonobo says:

    Some movies are so bad they’re good – kind of like Mark’s reviews.

    [Reply]

    Mark Ramsey Reply:

    I will assume that calls for a “thank you”!

    [Reply]

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